Yoga for Hands and Wrists
Keeping your hands, fingers and wrists supple is so important not only for advancing in your yoga practice but for preventing a whole host of irritations in this area such as Tunnel Syndrome.
In Yoga, we spend a lot of time in Downward facing dog, plank, side plank and often arm balances too. In these postures the wrist joint is required to take an intense amount of force. In other areas of our day to day lives, the hands and wrists do a HUGE amount of work. The hands are generally closed in on themselves as you type, text, drive, hold, lift etc and this can also often make us slump in the upper back.
Below are 5 ways to help keep your hands and wrists tension free:
- Prayer position (Anjala Mudra): Bring your palms together at your sternum so the wrists are in line with your elbows. Make sure the hands are active; all fingers are straight and pressing against the opposite hand. Hold for 5 breaths.
- Wrist rotations: From Prayer position, clasp the fingers and bring the palms together. Begin then to circle the wrists in one direction and then the other. This an be done anytime is a nice warm up before your practice or even at the gym before lifting weights.
- Reverse Prayer (Paschima Namaskarasana): An intermediate yoga posture and great for those that suffer from wrist pain. Bring your hands together behind your back, fingers pointing down to the ground, and then begin to bring the finger tips towards the spine, moving upward. Your palms may not be touching and that’s ok, they will in time. Inhale, make some space across the collar bones and exhale guide the palms towards each other.
- Hand Massage or Hasta Abhyanga: Abhyanga or massage is a form of Ayurvedic therapy; a sister science to Yoga. The hands are hosts to a multitude of energy points which, when stimulated may help improve inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. You can use your left hand to massage the right and vice verse. Adding oil to the area will be extra beneficial.
- Gorilla Pose or Padahastasana (pictured above): This is an intensive wrist stretch and one that I personally like to come back to often during my practice. From a standing forward fold, lift your toes and place the soles of your feet on the palm of your hands so your toes are right up to the wrists. Bend your knees as much as you like to make it gentler on your hamstrings. Let your head and neck relax while you rest here for approximately 5 breaths.
Make sure all of the above are done free from any pain or pinching. Sometimes the postures can feel intense and that’s OK as long as you can still breathe evenly.